links for 2011-06-01

  • "One question asked respondents whether they expected to be better off economically in 10 years than they are today. Two-thirds of blacks and Hispanics said yes, as did 55 percent of college-educated whites; just 44 percent of noncollege whites agreed. Asked if they were better off than their parents were at the same age, about three-fifths of college-educated whites, African-Americans, and Hispanics said they were. But blue-collar whites divided narrowly, with 52 percent saying yes and a head-turning 43 percent saying no. (The survey, conducted from March 24 through 29, surveyed 2,000 adults and has a margin of error of ±3.4 percent.) What makes these results especially striking is that minorities were as likely as blue-collar whites to report that they have been hurt by the recession. The actual unemployment rate is considerably higher among blacks and Hispanics than among blue-collar whites, much less college-educated whites."
  • "It’s a bit of a shock to hear all those slurs popped out in a row and not everyone’s loved the PSA for exactly that reason. But derogatory language, if not these explicit slurs, abounds on television and in daily life. The r-word, I’d add, is not the only derogatory slur that compassionate, thinking people should consider dropping from their lexicon.

    "The real question, it seems, is whether or not it’s okay to compare one derogatory slur with another, which can often feel too much like equating the suffering of one group with another. In the end though, the PSA is meant to create awareness about a word that’s hurtful to people who are disabled, and those who care about them."

  • "The legal claims by hundreds of American survivors like Ms. Firestone have set off an intense lobbying campaign in Washington on their behalf. But opposition from the government and even from leading Jewish groups has created an uncomfortable rift between groups that are normally in alliance and has created a potential minefield for President Obama."
  • "The Justice Department’s inspector general found that the Bush administration — which changed hiring rules to give its political appointees at the Civil Rights Division greater control over civil service hiring starting in 2003 — had violated hiring rules by screening out liberals and by actively seeking to fill civil service vacancies with conservatives, referred to privately by one Bush official as 'real Americans' and 'right-thinking Americans.'"
  • "Perhaps we’ll never fully know if the drug-addiction and other dependencies that so often derailed Scott-Heron’s vision was part of some COINTELPRO inspired conspiracy to deny our most gifted and passionate, access to the thing that matters the most—their right minds (surely cheaper and neater than assassination). When Albert King sang “I Almost Lost My Mind” he wasn’t just whistlin’ in the dark about the warm body that had just left his bed—somewhere folk like Huey P. Newton, Etheridge Knight, Esther Phillips, Sly Stone, Flavor Flav, and a host of others, including Scott-Heron, fully understood what he lamented. Yet can’t help to think though, that Gil Scott-Heron knew that he was not here to be simply loved; that there were hard truths that he had to tell us and his addictions would always guarantee that we would keep him at an arm’s distance."